HomePress Release 2006Press Release July 200624-07-2006: Intervention by the Minister of Public Order Mr. Vyron Polydoras at the European Union Justice and Home Affairs...

24-07-2006: Intervention by the Minister of Public Order Mr. Vyron Polydoras at the European Union Justice and Home Affairs Council of Ministers meeting (Brussels, 24-7-06)


Athens, 24/07/2006


The Minister of Public Order Mr. Vyron Polydoras made the following statement at the Justice and Home Affairs Council of Ministers meeting, as to the situation in Lebanon and the humanitarian aspects of the ongoing grave situation in the Middle East (humanitarian aspects deriving from refugees displacement):

First of all, let me thank the Presidency for the opportunity we have today, following the Swedish initiative, to exchange points of view on these issues. The timing of the discussion could not have been better, since acts of violence are unfortunately continuing, victims are multiplying and the destructive consequences of the crisis are getting more and more important.

The Greek government grants major importance, and that is why it has also granted full priority, to the best possible management  at the national and at the community level  of all the humanitarian aspects of this ongoing and very serious situation at the Middle East, which is a serious blow to Lebanon mainly, although it undoubtedly affects in a multiple and most serious way the greater region (Syria, Cyprus etc).

In this context, as other partners, Greece was one of the first countries to take an active participation in the operations transporting civilians and humanitarian aid to the population suffering. From the very first moment we sent over medical staff, material and provisions, whereas we are still deploying intense efforts to safely remove from the areas of conflict not just Greek nationals and their families but also all the other nationals from EU and third countries who ask us to do so.

As to the internally displaced persons, we fully support all the efforts of the Presidency, the European Commission, of our other partners and other international organizations (for instance, UNHCR) to promptly and efficiently deal with the destructive consequences of the crisis.

We firmly believe that present conditions require extraordinary measures; we should all coordinate, cooperate and support each other, working to relieve people who suffer and deal in an integrated, coherent and substantial way with all the aspects of the humanitarian issue.

By means of example, as to immigration, management of external borders and visa issues, let us be flexible and constructive, without of course breaking community law, so as to provide for the safe return of all Lebanese nationals who traveled to Europe and cannot now go back, or to attend those who would like to visit for a certain period of time relatives and friends in our countries, because of the crisis and the grave situation, without intending to settle permanently.

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